Saturday, August 25, 2012

Decorating Miss Grace's Room

Stephanie has started decorating Gracie's Room.  She has started by picking out some real cute whimsical letters for her name on her wall.  Her room is sorta a peachy pink or an antiqued dusty rose, which ever you would like to call it.  So we decided that the letters should be sage green, these colors compliment each other nicely. 

Now everyone has nicknames, right!  We'll hers is no exception!  My grand daughters name is Katelyn Grace, but we all call her Gracie.  She has been called Gracie since... before she was born, the name just stuck and seemed right.  One might say, then why not just name her Gracie, not Katelyn.  We'll this is the million dollar question...  and there is no right  or wrong answer, other than Katelyn Grace is my grand daughter name and it is a very pretty name at that!  So that is why they chose Grace for the name on her wall. 

In the back ground of this picture above... on the table you might be able to see another project in the works. I'm working on some homemade wooden blocks with Beatrix Potter Characters on them... so stay tuned for that blog, coming soon!

These letters turned out so nice, now we just need to hang them on the wall. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Tarts and Pastries ~ Apple Empanadas

Vintage Tart Master Stainless Scalloped Biscuit Tart Cutter Tool

Vintage Tart Master Pastry Crimper and Cutter made in Canadian

 Click here for a brief history on Empanada's

The Empanada ~ A Brief History


Sweet Pastry Dough for Empanadas

This is a quick recipe for sweet pastry dough to use for sweet empanadas; it is very similar to any pastry dough you would use for sweet tarts. You can adjust the amount of sugar based on your preference, also keep in the mind that more sugar a pastry dough has the more fragile it is!  In addition I usually sprinkle sugar on top of the sweet empanadas so try to stay on the low end of the sugar quantity.  You should get about 15-18 medium sized empanada discs or 25-30 small empanada discs.


3 cups all purpose flour
¼- ½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 sticks butter or 16 tbs, cut into 16 pieces
2 eggs
2-4 tbs cold water

  1. Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor.
  2. Add the butter, eggs and water until a clumpy dough forms.
  3. Knead the dough for a few minutes.
  4. Form dough into 2 balls, flatten into thick discs, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Roll out the dough into a thin sheet and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas, use round molds or a small plate or cup as a mold, you can choose how large based on whether you want small or medium sized empanadas .
  6. Use the empanada discs immediately or store in the refrigerator or freezer to use later.

For the filling, I decided to cook down the apples first versus filling them raw like apple pies. I thought it would prevent any extra liquid from oozing out and making the empanada dough soggy, and it worked out perfectly.

Apple Filling:

2 tbsp butter
5 medium size apples
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
2 tbsp corn starch, mix with 2-3 tbsp of water until smooth
pinch of salt
2 tbsp of tubinado sugar (optional)
1 egg yolk

  1. Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor.
  2. Add the butter, eggs and water until a clumpy dough forms. (note: dough too dry or too wet will result to cracked empanadas.)
  3. Knead the dough for a few minutes.
  4. Form dough into 2 balls, flatten into thick discs, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  5. While waiting for the dough to chill, make the apple filling. Peel and core the apples. Cut into 1/2″ or 1/4″ cubes.
  6. Over medium heat in a medium size saucepan, add butter, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and apples. Cook until tender about 10 minutes, stir frequently.
  7. add the cornstarch + water mixture to the apples. Cook and stir until the apples start to thicken.
  8. Make sure the apple filling is chilled before filling the empanadas. (at least 1 hour in the fridge.)
  9. Roll out the dough into a thin sheet (1/4″-1/8″ thickness) and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas, use round molds or a small plate or cup as a mold, you can choose how large based on whether you want small or medium sized empanadas . (note: 5″ round molds make medium size empanadas, fits 1 tbsp of filling inside. )
  10. Put ~1 tbsp of apple filling in the center of the dough. Wet the dough circumference with water, fold the circle in half, pat down to push out excess air, pinch and flatten the edge tightly to seal. Using a fork to crimp the edge.
  11. Refrigerate the formed empanadas for at least 30 minutes. The empanadas can be chilled for several hours prior to baking.
  12. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  13. Brush the empanadas with egg yolk (mix with a tsp of water).
  14. Optional: Sprinkle the empanadas with turbinado sugar. (maybe even mix the sugar with some cinnamon)
  15. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy the empanadas warm, a la mode is the best.
  16. Refrigerate the baked empanadas, and they will keep for quite a few days.
  17. Reheat in a toaster oven and voila!

    Note:  There are different ways to seal up the empanadas. They will turn out better if you prevent the syrup from the apple filling from oozing out.  I think you get the idea from the two pictures above. 

     Some nice vintage inter stacking pastry cutters for your tart making adventures!

    Saturday, August 11, 2012

    Green Polka Dot Pants ~ Children's Clothes

    I've made several coordinating pieces of children's clothing lately for Miss Katelyn (Gracie).  We had quite a bit of fabric left over from the fabrics that we had bought to make her birthday dress.  So here is what we made with all the extra fabric.  On this pattern fits sizes from 1/2, 1, 2, 3, 4. 

    Grace right now wears a size 1, so I got out the carbon paper and traced the pattern for her size onto the fabric... so we wouldn't cut up the pattern and not be able to use it later for the bigger sizes.  I like these patterns that have several different sizes in them.... you really get your monies  worth out of them!  

    Children's clothes are so easy to make, these pants took my about a total of three hours.

    Saturday, August 4, 2012

    Apron Sewing Class ~ Part 1

    My daughter-inlaw Stephanie and a good friend Latrice have been wanting to learn how to sew.  They both have their sewing machines and are eager to learn.  They have been asking me for several months if I would show them... so I guess we better do something about this learning how to sew stuff!  This will be a good thing for them learn, it will open up all sorts of doors, if you know how to sew yourself and don't have to rely on others.  It can be very rewarding as well as useful tool too!   They both have dreams of making their own go girls!  

    When I shared with them that we could start their first project, they were so excited and were so eager to get started, they decided that this project should be something that was useful, but not complicated.  They decided that aprons would be a perfect choice for this project... the reasoning behind this choice is that both of them enjoy cooking and baking.  So we set a date to go get their apron patterns and fabric. So we then kept our date to meet at the fabric store and get their supplies.  We had alot of fun while the browsed thru pattern and fabric.  Olivia was with us at the fabric store and said she had a sewing machine and just might have to join in the fun soon. We ran into Beverly there,  she was looking for a buttons to repair a suit that was missing some buttons!  Then we set the next date to layout and pattern pieces on the fabric and pin the pieces down to the fabric.  Of course we set another date to start sewing... they are having so much fun and they are so excited.... I truly wish that I had a project to work on right now too... their excitement is so contagious! 

    Here are their apron patterns and fabric choices.


    Stephanie's apron pattern and fabric.         Latrice's apron pattern and fabric.

    Pattern directions and some of the cut apron pieces.

    We are busy sewing up our aprons!
    Stephanie is getting excited, she is almost finished with her apron.

    Latrice wanted to put a flower or something on her apron for a little splash.  I made this flower pattern for her to put on her apron.  I decided that a 3-D effect would look ready great! 
    Now... we had some of Stephanie's fabric left over, so we decided to make
    Miss Katelyn Grace a Bapron (bib apron)!  She is ready for a bigger bib, so we decided this was just the right size.  They are busy on their aprons, so I made Gracie's Bapron. 

    One of the great features to this apron/bib is that is reversible!

    I cut the pattern out of the print fabric and then choose a cream flannel fabric for the opposite side and cut it out also.

    Here we embroidered her name on the cream flannel side of the fabric before sewing the two pieces together which makes it a reversible bib.

    This Bapron turn out real nice, it was fairly easy to make and it fits Gracie great too.  I will have to make a few more of these apron bibs. Good sized bibs are hard to come by!  

    Nana and Gracie

    We'll the our sewing class has got side tracked...  I'm sure it will get back on track but I'm going to post this one and when they finish we will do a part 2.  Stephanie got side track on Gracie's 1st Birthday dress and Latrice got side tracked on her small side business called Love Cookie.  We'll you can guess or just imagine what her small business is... Cookies!!!